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Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 [S]

This Scottish Executive Act aims to establish a licensing system within which local decision making by local authority Licensing Boards can take place. The Act introduces several new measures with the aim of tackling under-age and binge drinking.


The Act follows consultation in May 2004 by the Scottish Executive Justice Department. The consultation was informed by the findings of the Nicholson Committee's report.

The Act makes provision for a range of licensing matters including licensing bodies and officers, premises licences, licensed hours and offences.

Reducing underage drinking and binge drinking, providing a voice for communities and modernisation are key issues underlining the Executive's approach to the new licensing system.

This Act also compliments the Scottish Executive's steps to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The five key objectives are:

  • Protecting children from harm

  • Securing public safety

  • Preventing public nuisance

  • Protecting and improving public health

  • Preventing crime and disorder

Main Provisions of the Act relating to children and young people:

Section 10 sets out the regulations for Local Licensing Forums. Schedule 2 identifies young people as having a relevant interest in Local Licensing Forum's and recommends that to ensure Forum's are as representative as possible they be included in their membership.

Section 19 states that when applying for a licence the licensee must draft a proposed operating plan and a layout plan for the premises indicating clearly what activities would be undertaken on the premises. Licensees must decide whether to 'opt in' to access by children to their premises. Considerations have to be taken as to whether their premises are suitable for access to children including suitable hours of access, areas of access and whether the child is to be accompanied or unaccompanied. It is mandatory for baby changing facilities to be accessible on premises that allow access to children.

Section 25 sets out regulations for the conditions of the premises licence. To preclude 'happy hours' and tackle binge drinking and under-age drinking schedule 3 stipulates that the prices of alcohol would have to be fixed for at least 48 hours. Further, any irresponsible drinks promotions must not be carried out on or in connection with the premises.

Section 93 - The Act makes it an offence for anyone to sell alcohol to children of young people under 18 anywhere.

Section 94 - The Act makes it an offence for anyone to knowingly allow alcohol to be sold to a child or young person under 18 on any relevant premises.

Section 95 - This section of the Act makes it an offence to sell liqueur confectionery to a child or young person under 16.

Section 96 - It is an offence for a child or young person under 18 to buy or attempt to buy alcohol.

Section 97 - This section makes it illegal for a child or young person under 18 knowingly to consume alcohol on relevant premises.

Section 98 - The Act makes it an offence to knowingly allow a child or young person under 18 to sell, supply or serve alcohol.

Section 99 - It is an offence to allow under 18s to deliver alcohol from of-sales or to deliver alcohol, or allow it to be delivered, to someone under 18.

Section 100 - The Act makes it an offence to send a child or young person under 18 to obtain alcohol that is sold for consumption off the premises.

Section 101 - It is an offence for relevant premises not to display a notice stating that it is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to buy or attempt to buy alcohol on the premises or for a person to buy alcohol on their behalf.


Bill introduced 03/05

03/10/05 Local Government and Transport Committee complete Stage 2 consideration

11/11/05 Bill as amended at Stage 2 published

16/11/05  Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament

Further Information

  1. Licensing (Scotland) Bill (as Introduced)
  2. Licesning (Scotland) Bill (as amended at Stage 2)
  3. Licensing (Scotland) Bill (as passed)
  4. Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005